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2019 Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase Generates $131 Million in Direct Spending

The 2019 Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase, held February 2 – 17, 2019, generated $131 million in direct spending, including $13 million in local tax revenue. These findings come from a recently-completed economic impact study funded by Visit Tucson, the largest travel marketing organization in Tucson and Southern Arizona.

This year’s winter showcase encompassed 48 individual shows and an estimated 4,882 exhibitors (up from 40 shows and 4,480 exhibitors in 2014). There were an estimated 65,604 visitors to the shows, up 31.7%, and $13 million in local taxes collected – a 21.5% increase over 2014. Direct spending associated with the event increased from $120 million in 2014 to $131 million (+9%) in 2019.

These findings are from a research project conducted by FMR Associates, a Tucson-based international research firm, which also administered studies on the showcase in 2000, 2007 and 2014. More than 1,500 owners, exhibitors and buyers were surveyed on expenditures like housing, transportation and items purchased to measure the direct spend, taxes and economic impact on Tucson, Pima County, Oro Valley and Marana.

While overall direct spending was up, it was down in the show owner category of equipment/staging rentals and facilities, suggesting that facilities and/or equipment once leased by owners in 2014 (during the last study) are now owned outright. This implies they have a greater investment in the showcase and the Tucson community.

“The Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase is vital to our region’s economy,” said Brent DeRaad, Visit Tucson’s President & CEO.  “Metro Tucson hotel occupancy exceeded 90% on eight of the 16 nights associated with this year’s showcase and Tucson led its 15-city competitive set of large, western U.S. cities with 85% lodging occupancy in February.  The Gem Show truly is a showcase for Tucson and Southern Arizona by attracting show owners, exhibitors and buyers from throughout the world.”

ABOUT VISIT TUCSON

Visit Tucson's mission is to drive economic development by connecting visitors with their ideal travel & meetings experiences in Tucson. Visit Tucson is financially supported by the City of Tucson, Pima County, the Town of Oro Valley and more than 450 individual and business partners. VisitTucson.org.

HOW VISIT TUCSON SUPPORTS THE 'GEM SHOW'

In 2019 Visit Tucson hired Tucson’s FMR Associates to conduct an economic impact study of the 2019 Showcase. FMR also conducted economic impact studies of 2000, 2007 and 2014 gem shows, which provided strong points of comparison and very similar methodologies among the four studies.

FMR estimates that $131 million in direct expenditures resulted from the 2019 show, a 9 percent increase from the $120 million spent in 2014.  Lodging was the largest expenditure category at $45.8 million, a 53% increase from 2014.  Click here for copies of the showcase study and the executive summary.

The Convention Services department is the City of Tucson's liaison to gem-show owners and promoters, and directly supports the promotion of all shows through the Official Gem Guide, Downtown Welcome Program, website listings, and technical assistance. This team is also responsible for collecting information on available accommodations just prior to and during the Showcase. Find your gem show accommodations by calling 1-800-638-8350.

The Public Relations and Communications department pitches local, regional, national and international media outlets for coverage of the event throughout the year. During the showcase, the PR team provides timely statistics to local media, responds to media inquiries, creates editorial content, arranges interviews, and maintains the Official Gem Show Guide and event calendars. 

The Marketing team designs and produces collateral, signage, banners, maps, and the TGMFS Program Guide. The webmaster develops and maintains TGMFS website pages at VisitTucson.org. The Visitor Information team responds to show-related phone, website, and walk-in inquiries from visitors. 

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